Silencer Laws

Class 3 Weapons – What Defines a Short Barrel Rifle?

What is an SBR, or Short Barrel Rifle?

SBRs, or short-barreled rifles, are an NFA item which have become more popular recently. Law enforcement agencies like them for their compact size and maneuverability. In the civilian world, their popularity stems from their use as a home defense weapon or for their “cool” factor. Either way, an SBR is an NFA weapon and thus must be registered with the National Firearms Act Branch.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) defines a short-barreled rifle as “a rifle having one or more barrels less than sixteen inches in length and any weapon made from a rifle (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if such weapon, as modified, has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches.” An example of the last part of that definition would be putting a stock on a pistol as part of the ATF’s definition of a rifle is “intended to be fired from the shoulder.”

Short Barrel Rifle Laws

You have three main options when it comes to obtaining an SBR. The first was mentioned above with putting a rifle stock on a handgun. You must engrave the new weapon and register your setup on a Form 1, also called the Application to Make and Register a Firearm. The form can be found by simply doing an internet search for “ATF Form 1.” Do not assemble the weapon until you have received your approved Form 1. In fact, don’t even keep your pistol and stock in close vicinity. Otherwise, you will be in violation of the law as the ATF could claim that you have an SBR which is unregistered and can be easily and quickly assembled.

How to Buy a Short Barrel Rifle

Option number two is to have the barrel of an existing rifle cut down under sixteen inches or purchase a barrel already sized at your desired length. Again, you’ll need to engrave your setup and register your weapon on an ATF Form 1. The Form 1, like the Form 4 (Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm), requires you to pay the $200 tax. Once again, do not assemble your new weapon or have all of the parts sitting together until after receiving the approved Form 1. The final option is to purchase an already made SBR from a Class 3 dealer in your state. This year, Silencer Central sold many Kriss Vector SBRs. It was the first time we’ve done much with SBRs, but it proved to be a good experience.

If you have questions about purchasing a rifle stock for your pistol or creating your own SBR, it’s best to give the NFA Branch a call at 304-616-4500. However, if you’re in the market for an already assembled SBR, such as the Kriss Vector, give us a call today!